Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The New Sound of Windmills

Shamelessly copying the idea from Nathaniel over at Film Experience, I decided last night to attach a little "jukebox" widget to the sidebar here at Windmills (right beneath the blog archive). My reasoning being that with the Filmmusic Blog-a-thon right around the corner, I thought it might be appropriate to provide this site with its own private "soundtrack" of sorts. Though I am starting off small, you can rest assured I will add more as I go along. The first six songs are by six artists who I consider to be some of the greatest filmmusic composers ever.


Becoming a Geisha - As I wrote in my appreciation of John Williams, scoring the distinctly Eastern Memoirs of a Geisha was a bit of a departure for the familiarly "Western" Williams. Nonetheless he acquited himself admirably. This particular piece, played during a montage that depicts Michelle Yeoh instructing Ziyi Zhyang in the ways of the Geisha, is one of my personal favorites on the soundtrack.

Love Theme from The Russia House - This Jerry Goldsmith-penned theme from the John Schepisi film adaptation of the John LeCare novel (featuring Sean Connery and Nate's beloved Michelle Pfeiffer as the "Cold War" lovers) is both soulfull and sad. When the violin comes in at the end it almost always gets me.

Theme from Mars Attacks - What can I say? It's Danny Elfman doing what he does best. Working once again with collaborator Tim Burton (on what is unfortunately not one of his best films), Danny creates a dark, funny, weird and catchy score. I particularly like the way that this theme slowly builds and builds to a frenzied climax. Nice use of a thermine too.

Suite from To Kill a Mockingbird - If I had to choose what I thought was the single most beautiful piece of music ever written for a movie, I'd pick this one (with Schindler's List running a close second). Elmer Bernstein brilliantly captures the exhuberance, the wonder, the innocence, the pathos, the fear and, at times, the tragic sadness of youth with this marvelous score. This piece is a combination of three cues from the film ("Main Title," "Roll in the Tire" and "End Title") and it is simultaneously so sweet and heartbreakingly melancholy, that I have a hard time hearing it without being moved. In fact, the best way that I think I've ever been able to describe it is that it's "achingly beautiful."

The Pink Panther Theme - This one needs no explanation.

Ecstasy of Gold - This wonderful piece from Ennio Morricone's immortal score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of the best musical representations of--as the title says--ecstasy that I've ever heard. Played during the memorable scene wherein Eli Wallach finally finds the cemetary where the gold is buried and darts throughout it looking for the right plot, this is another piece that builds and builds beautifully.


That should about do it for now. As I said, more to come later.

5 comments:

J.J. said...

Love it. I can read about film music all day. Never heard Goldsmith's score for Russia House, so thanks for putting it here. My favorites of his are Alien and Chinatown, obviously.

Looking forward to the blogathon.

Damian said...

Thanks, J.J. I had actually never heard the music to Russia House either until I purchased The Essential Jerry Goldsmith Filmmusic Collection several years back and thought it was great. It made me want to see the movie (which I finally did).

Alien and Chinatown are also two great scores of his. I thought about putting the theme from Chinatown in there but chose to go with something slightly less well-known. Maybe later though.

Joe said...

Alien had a tremendous score, even though Ridley Scott seemed to use so little of it in a classical sense. Little bursts here or there.

Between that and Scott rejecting Goldsmith's score for Legend, and don't think the composer was very happy about it.

Rent Legend on DVD. Goldsmith's score is really good, and makes the extended version a much different movie from the get-go.

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